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Writing and Humanistic Studies (21W) - Archived

Research and Teaching Output of the MIT Community

Writing and Humanistic Studies (21W) - Archived


The MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies gives students the opportunity to learn the techniques, forms, and traditions of several kinds of writing, from basic expository prose to more advanced forms of non-fictional prose, fiction and poetry, science writing, scientific and technical communication and digital media. Our faculty consists of novelists, essayists, poets, translators, biographers, historians, engineers, and scientists.

Program subjects are arranged by four areas: exposition and rhetoric, creative writing, science writing, and technical communication. In each area, introductory subjects lead to more specialized advanced subjects. Introductory subjects are designed for students with little experience in writing. Advanced subjects are for students who have mastered the elements of sentence and paragraph structure. A number of the advanced subjects use writing as a vehicle to explore humanistic and scientific issues in a broad cultural context.

The Graduate Program in Science Writing is a 12-month course of study leading to a Master of Science degree. Aimed at students who wish to write about science and technology for general readers, the program is built around an intensive two-semester advanced science-writing seminar. Links to other MIT programs and departments - such as the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships program, Comparative Media Studies, and the Program in Science, Technology and Society - provide rich resources for students who come to the Graduate Program in Science Writing from a variety of backgrounds.

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Recent Submissions

  • Paradis, James (2002-12)
    In the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin gave us a model for understanding how natural objects and systems can evidence design without positing a designer: how purpose and mechanism can exist without intelligent agency. ...
  • Kelley, Wyn (2002-12)
    This is a HASS –CI course. Like other communications-intensive courses in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, it allows students to produce 20 pages of polished writing with careful attention to revision. It also ...
  • Taft, Cynthia B. (2002-12)
    Environmentalists have traditionally relied upon the power of their prose to transform the thoughts and behavior of their contemporaries. John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, evoked the wonders of California's Hetch ...
  • Faery, Rebecca Blevins (2002-12)
    This course is an introduction to writing prose for a public audience--specifically, prose grounded in, but not confined to, personal narrative.That is, you will write essays that engage elements and aspects of contemporary ...
  • Lioi, Anthony (2006-06)
    This course focuses on traditional nature writing and the environmentalist essay. Students will keep a web log as a journal. Writings are drawn from the tradition of nature writing and from contemporary forms of the ...